This Moment

The world is filled with Neurotic Democrats.

I just saw on the AP daily tracking poll of all the polls that McCain was down .1 percent, and Obama was up .2 percent, and my heart leapt with joy.

My friend Amalie went to the polling place in Akron this morning, but the line was over an hour, so she left. My wife and I were going to vote this afternoon, but we don’t have an hour and a half. We’ll go Monday.

In a couple hours, it’s Trick-or-Treat. Our three-year-old is Jango Fett this year, from Star Wars. He has a gun, with foam suction-tipped darts, and he’s asked me to carry his light sabre. We have a furry bear costume for our one-and-a-half year old, but I doubt if we’ll entice him to wear it.

Hey. I’ve been writing my kids’ ages as three-and-half and one-and-a-half since I started this blog, back in August. The kids will be 4 and 2 in January.

We’ve all been at this a long time.

I’m looking forward to the onset of Shabbat tonight, more than most. On Shabbat, as my readers know, I don’t blog. What you may not know is I also don’t check the polls. I don’t log on to the tracking sites. I just have dinner with the family; roll around on the rug with the kids.

Writing about Shabbat, Abraham Joshua Heschel notes: “We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.”

Enjoy this moment.

Shabbat shalom.


4 Responses to “This Moment”

  1. Loyal says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the PD loan thread. I’m now weighing in on it.

    And the comment I had mentioned to you yesterday can be found here:

    Good Shabbos.

  2. this was beautiful: We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.”

    I’m going to try to think about that tonight

  3. drdad says:

    My son just forwarded this to me and it could not be more timely or more a propos:

    Subj: a letter from Susannah Heschel for your Jewish friends + relatives worried about Obama:

    For those of you who may not be familiar with Abraham Joshua Heschel, he was one of the most beloved rabbis of the 20th Century. He taught at the the Jewish Theological Seminary and was a leader in the fight against racial inequalities (sic), having marched with Rev. Martin Luther King at Selma , Alabama .

    Jews, Truth, and the Obama Campaign


    The presidential election has once again brought Black-Jewish relations to the forefront of American discussion. Some Jews are suspicious of Senator Obama and cannot believe a black president would ally himself with Jewish concerns, particularly Israel ‘s security, as reliably as his white Republican opponent, Senator McCain.

    I am often asked how my father, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, would respond. His friendship with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., stands as an iconic moment, a bond rooted in the Bible between two people from radically different religious backgrounds: my father, a Hasidic Jew from Warsaw , Dr. King a Christian minister from the South. Linked by the Hebrew prophets, they worked to overcome poverty and economic discrimination, and to bring an end to the politics of suspicion, resentment, and racism. Theirs was not simply a political effort, but a deeply religious commitment. We Jews are proud of photographs of my father marching side by side with Dr. King at Selma .

    Yet in those days, opponents of Dr. King, including the FBI, used to attack his Jewish allies to undermine his credibility. Vivid for me are the cruel rumors that circulated during the 1960s, linking Dr. King to communism by casting shadows on some of his Jewish supporters and advisors, accusing them of being secret communist sympathizers, trying to overthrow the United States government and using the Civil Rights Movement as their Trojan horse.

    Today’s malicious gossip, that Senator Obama is a radical or a terrorist, and insinuating that he would betray Israel, reminds me of those days, when ideas we now find ridiculous had credibility.

    Yet something more is at stake: the whole world is watching the Jewish vote, particularly in Ohio and Florida , where we may play a profound role in determining the presidential election. What is frightening are reports that some Jews are being seduced by lies and defamations of Senator Obama.

    Quite understandably, Jews are worried. We fear for Israel ‘s security, not only in light of a powerful Iran ‘s horrendous threats, and those of terrorist madmen, but also in light of rising anti-Semitism in Europe . We are too well-aware of the ease with which demagogues can rile up a crowd to a murderous frenzy, and we ask ourselves, Can it happen here? At the same time, we also know that the best guarantee for Israel ‘s security is an America that is strong both economically and in spirit.

    We Jews, of all people, know how crucial truth is. We have fallen as horrific victims to anti-Semitic lies told about us, repeated by the press, by politicians, even by clergy; we remember, as my father wrote, that Hitler did not come to power with tanks and guns, but with words and defamations. Today, we are shocked that people spread vile rumors that the Holocaust never occurred, and we are horrified that so many people, even well-educated people, believe those rumors.

    Those who have attempted to manipulate our vote by spreading falsehoods about Senator Obama should hold no sway over Jewish voters. Indeed, some of the rumor-mongers are antisemites, once again using us to defeat a black leader.

    My father once described racism as an eye disease afflicting white people. He sought and created an inspiring alliance with Black leaders that was rooted in their shared love of the Bible and the vision of the Hebrew prophets. There are times when all of us, Christians and Jews, whites and blacks, may be led by our fears to swerve from paths of righteousness, but we also have a longing to overcome our fears.

    Some pundits say that white voters might support Senator Obama until they enter the voting booth. Let us, as Jews, cast our vote with the same Jewish pride that brought my father to stand with Dr. King: to renew our alliance and join together in our goal of a strong and just America .

    Prof. Susannah Heschel
    Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies
    Dartmouth College

  4. Neurotic Dem says:

    Loyal —
    I agree with you about your description of McCain. I don’t know whether you ultiimately read the piece, and agree with me — about having empathy for McCain, after reading the NY Times piece. I think empathy is a good thing — and I have no trouble feeling it for someone who I vehemently disagree with; even, at times, disrespect.
    I think McCain went off the rails in this campaign. My guess is, he feared he could not beat Obama without abandoning all he stood for. It’s a sad departure — win, lose, or draw.
    Big City Guy — thanks for reading, and for commenting on the comment. Just FYI, it’s from Heschel’s book, “The Sabbath”; a thin book filled with powerful insights like this one.
    Jon — thanks for posting Susannah Heschel’s endorsement of Barack Obama. It’s quite moving. Heschel played a big part in this election narrative for me, as did his daughter, Susannah (See post: “A Tale of Two Speeches.”) Her point about overcoming our fear is a huge one to me. It’s not easy to take a new road — no one wants to be blamed for having done the wrong thing; the fact that on Election Day, we stand poised to elect the first black president is a testament to exactly what Susannah Heschel says: “we also have a longing to overcome our fears.”

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